The program was reportedly disbanded in compliance with a new state law that bans diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) offices at public universities and colleges. Student employees of the program say it was shut down quietly and suddenly, despite assurances from university officials that they would find a way to maintain it.
Mary Elizabeth Castle, director of government relations with Texas Values, says the blinders are coming off.
"We're starting to see the effects of the S.B. 17 law on diversity, equity, and inclusion start to play out in a lot of universities. What a lot of people don't realize about these [DEI] programs is that they're very heavily LGBT-focused to the point that students are … forced to advocate for certain LGBT issues," she notes. "So, the fact that UT Arlington is doing away with this office … is a step in the right direction."
Castle says inclusivity training is a relatively new concept, and the problem is these LGBTQ+ offices are not promoting equality; they are shutting out different viewpoints.
"You even have instances where if maybe you wanted to have a conservative meeting … the LGBT office could shut those type of meetings down," Castle adds.
With these new laws going into place, or even perhaps because of a movement from students themselves wanting free speech, she hopes these offices will no longer have that type of power on campuses.